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Baby Bones

I remember it all so well. My mother had remarried after being on her own for many years with two small children. Shortly after they married, my parents bought a beautiful two-storey brick house in the center of a small Tennessee town.

The first day we moved in was a bright sunny Saturday morning, and gentle breezes were pushing enormous puffy, white clouds across the summer sky. It was wonderful! Being the oldest child, I made a mad dash into the house and up the stairs to claim the biggest and best room. The stairway was situated between the kitchen and the bathroom and two turns to get to the top floor.

Between the main floor and the first landing was a small door that opened into what my mother termed a "cubby hole" - which to most folks implies a small space, but it actually opened into a attic half the length of the house. Then, you walked up the landing, turned, went up two more steps to come down a short hallway. Just a few steps into the hallway was another "cubby hole" level with the floor that ran the length of the other half of the house. Directly at the end of the hall was another regular door, with my bedroom to the right and my sister's across another hall to the left.

Houses of this era weren't built with "central heating" but had vents in the upper floors to allow warm air from the furnace in the basement to warm the upper floors. Such a vent was near my sister's bedroom door and barely heated the upstairs in winter. Now I've said all this to give a layout of the upstairs. The door between the bedrooms lead into a short dark hallway that angled off to the right and left going the full length of the house. It was the typical attic with the steep sloping roof with bare beams tucked with aging, discolored insulation.

The first time I opened the door to "the attic" I felt a gust of cold wind (and there were NO vents to the outside from the attic). I immediately felt frightened, but then being a kid I felt frightened of the dark most of the time. There was only a dim light just inside the door so that no light penetrated around the corners into the attic. My heart was pounding so hard that I quickly slammed the door shut and ran back downstairs.

The hardest thing for me to do was to go up those stairs everyday. After that first day there was always this cold air wafting down the stairway, no matter how warm it was outside. My parents began storing stuff in the attic, but before actually putting anything into it, they explored the vast attic. They found an old wood baby cradle from the late 1800's (as near as they could figure out). They brought the cradle out and left it in the hallway, thinking surely little girls would like to use a cradle for their dolls...such was not the case. It sat in the corner of the hallway collecting dust until well after I graduated. I didn't know why neither my sister nor I every liked it, but later we found out.

Since the house was situated in a new town, naturally my sister and I ended up attending a new school. Being curious as are most kids, they all ask where you've come from and where you live. You quickly make friends with some and acquaintances of others. Several kids seemed shocked and amazed that anyone was living in the house that we'd bought.

Supposedly, I was quickly informed, the house was haunted. The rumor was that the very young daughter of the couple who had lived in the house many years ago had been raped by a local boy. The traumatized girl ended up being pregnant, and in those days, abortions just weren't done. Although the parents did not send the girl away to have her baby, as was the custom when something like this happened, they did lock her upstairs in my room! And worst of all, the baby had vanished and had never been found!

Unfortunately, the young girl committed suicide shortly after giving birth to a healthy baby boy. She hung herself with a belt in my closet. For some reason the family didn't find her for days. The strange thing about the back of my closet was that during my turbulent teens (and I do mean turbulent) my mother and I fought constantly. She was emotionally and physically abusive. The only place she never seemed to look for me, nor even open the door, was my closet.

The tiny wooden cradle that the young girl's parent's had given her to put the baby in was also empty. The parents, while frantic over their daughter, were said to be quite a bit relieved that the baby was never found. Needless to say, the parents didn't stay in the house much longer after the death of their child. I guess everyone just assumed the young teenage girl had murdered her baby and taken it outside somewhere to bury it.

During the first fall my family lived in the house, my mother often sent me into the mid-hallway attic to look for things she'd stored there. I would be given a flashlight and sent on my way. It was like being sent into the depths of hell every time I opened that door. I would feel physically ill, and the cold penetrated so quickly that I'd be shaking before I got around the corner. On one of the first treks like this into the attic I was puzzled by the fact that nothing was stored on the left side of the attic. Of course the right side wasn't full, but it just seemed a bit odd, even to a kid.

I just remember feeling this overwhelming sense of panic every time I just looked over to the left side. I always felt that someone was over there. All you could see was dark corners between the rafters and the old graying insulation tucked between them. One day after school, a friend and I ventured into the attic to "explore" the left side. I tried to pretend that I was not scared, but I was terrified. I grabbed the flashlight and slowly climbed those icy stairs with my friend.

As I opened the door the gust of cold air slapped us in the face. I turned to look at my friend whose eyes were about the size of a tennis ball. I just smiled apprehensively and walked in the door. We were both whispering, but had no idea why. We were the only ones in the house. When we reached the edge of the hallway and shone the flickering light of the flashlight across the left attic I felt like I was going to faint. I was too afraid to walk across the rafters, being young, they just seemed too far apart and the filthy insulation wasn't something I would have wanted to break my fall.

I crawled ahead of my friend, wishing I'd never gotten myself into such a frightful situation. The further into the attic we crept, the more my fear was replaced by an overwhelming sadness. There didn't seem to be anything around and it dawned on me....what the heck were we looking for anyway? Suddenly, I got a splinter in my hand which caused me to over-react and I fell forward between a couple of rafters into the insulation. I heard my friend let out a shrill gasp and looking back at her. She was staring ahead of me pointing. I just didn't want to turn around and look, but she became insistent. Turning around, I saw a few tiny bones exposed by the movement of the insulation. I wasn't sure what they were, but creeping forward and gently brushing away the insulation we were both stunned to see a tiny baby skeleton curled into the fetal position. Around it's neck was a cord of some kind that was rotting and crumbling apart. I fell backwards away from it, and we both scrambled out of the attic. It was true!

All those rumors about our attic were true! Gone was the fear, but it was replaced by such sadness of the lives that had been lost so young. I don't know why, but we never said anything to anyone when we left the attic. I rarely entered the attic after that, and after I graduated from high school my parents sold the house and moved to a smaller house a mile away. Yet every time I go home, I have to drive by the house and I always have the sense of someone watching from my old bedroom window, but I now imagine the young girl holding her baby in her arms and looking out onto the wonderful gardens on a warm summer day. This happen a few years ago to me and Michelle. It was was in Michelle's house but it is totally true.

This is a story written by: Christina Bell and Michelle Raines, and it was submitted as a factual happening.


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